2020 Fordham Composers Program
Our Fordham Composers program is a composition class offered every two years at Fordham University. Each student enrolled in the class is asked to compose a piece featuring a trio within this instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, cello and piano.
The class is given on a weekly basis by Dr. Daniel Ott at Fordham University, Lincoln Center campus. The Exponential Ensemble visits the class periodically during the semester providing feedback to the students at different stages of their compositional processs.
The 2020 program will culminate with online virtual performances of all the students' works.
Stay tuned for more info!
Meet the 2020 Fordham Composers
Grace Davidson is a junior from Duxbury, Massachusetts studying music and philosophy. She has studied and played viola in various ensembles over the years, including the Rose Hill Orchestra.
She was among a small handful of student composers selected to workshop original pieces at the 2016 and 2017 Massachusetts Music Educators Association All-State Conferences.
She hopes to attend law school, focusing on legal issues in the music industry. Grace would like to thank the Exponential Ensemble and Dr. Ott for their help and encouragement.
Matthew Di Vitto
Matthew Di Vitto is an Environmental Science Major and Music Minor who will be graduating in May of 2020. He has years of training in classical piano and is currently participating as a drummer in a Fordham Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra.
He aspires to create music as a lifelong hobby and is grateful for this opportunity to develop skills in music composition. Many thanks for the help and guidance of Dr. Daniel Ott and the Exponential Ensemble!
Auden Dykes is a senior at Fordham University studying music, computer science, and math. He has been involved with music since elementary school and began playing piano about four years ago. As a performer, Auden is mainly focused on jazz, drawing inspiration especially from jazz/soul keyboard greats Red Garland, Herbie Hancock, and Cory Henry, to name a few.
Auden also hopes to pursue a future in composition and theory. As a composer, he is particularly drawn to minimalism, but he loves Bach, Schumann, Prokofiev, and Scriabin just as much as the next guy. Auden is incredibly grateful to Exponential Ensemble for giving him the opportunity to showcase his work, and to his wonderful teachers and mentors in the music department at Fordham University for their guidance.
Noé is a French exchange student at Fordham this academic year. He has been playing the flute for 15 years and loves to compose and explore the sound and the dialogue that can exist between instruments in music.
He sees music as a political way of expression because when you can't talk, you can still play and listen, and music can transmit a lot of things. So it would be unfortunate not to use this tool as an act of resistance.
Mary McCluskey is a senior double majoring in music and psychology. Growing up in Pennsylvania (in the same town as Samuel Barber!), she was exposed to a wide variety of music styles.
Mary started piano lessons at the age of seven and played the viola for six years before realizing her true identity as a choir kid in high school. She began writing short pieces as a teenager and continues to develop her compositional style.
Mary is grateful for the opportunity to work alongside so many
talented musicians, and to have her work performed by the Exponential Ensemble.
Kevin Mikuls is a senior Music Major and Film and Television minor at Fordham College at Lincoln Center hailing from Omaha, Nebraska. Over the course of his time at Fordham, he has had the pleasure of acting as well as directing multiple shows for the musical theatre group on campus, the Splinter Group.
Coming from the musical theatre world, his main love is singing, but he is excited to be finally composing for instruments! Thank you so much Exponential Ensemble!
Ezekiel Montes is a junior currently majoring in Music and minoring in Computer science. Ezekiel started taking piano lesson at a very young age.
He then eventually moved on to Escuela Libre de Musica (a school specialized in Fine Arts/Music in the municipality of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico).
For almost 10 years, he studied piano, and also participated in choirs and latin-pop/jazz orchestras. Also, since the age of ten, he has been highly active in his Catholic community as a musician. He considers the Church to be his "true school" of music.
After graduating high school, Ezekiel moved to New York City to follow his passion for music. Ezekiel is currently enrolled in a Music Composition course, which will be a fantastic and essential opportunity for him to grow as a musician. It is an honor, pleasure, and a blessing to work with Dr. Daniel Ott and the Exponential Ensemble.
Laure-Elise Wargnier is an exchange student at Fordham University for one year. Her home university is Sciences Po in France, where she studies social sciences and especially economics. She has been playing flute for many years.
She played within various groups: orchestras, improvisation groups, or her university band. Moreover, she is always listening to music, whether alternative music, rock, rap, techno… This is her favorite way to relax and escape. In France, she has never had the chance to combine her musical interests with her academic studies, hence she is very excited to get that opportunity here. She will strive to compose her first piece ever, with the help of Exponential Ensemble.
Lailinda is currently a senior double majoring in International Studies and Music with a minor in French. Growing up, she played classical piano for several years and sang in choir all the way through high school.
At Fordham, she has also sung in the University Choir and also had opportunities to explore other musical styles through Fordham's Jazz Ensembles, a cappella, and various music courses. Lailinda is eager to learn as much as she can from Dr. Ott and the Exponential Ensemble, and is incredibly thankful for the experience!
2018 Fordham Composers Program
Meet the 2018 Fordham Composers
Proudly hailing from The Bronx, Jeremiah Cortes is an ordinary musician that takes inspiration from his somewhat odd life in New York City. Jeremiah started to play the guitar and the clarinet at the age of 12. He is currently junior and a Music major at Fordham. After college, he hopes to score films here in New York City.
Franco Giacomarra is a junior at Fordham University studying Theatre with a minor in Music. Instilled with a love for music and the arts from an early age by his parents, Franco was trained in piano throughout elementary school and began to play drums and bass with various rock bands in high school, where he also played bass guitar in the concert band. Last fall, Francesco produced Tyler!, a genre bending horror musical that premiered in the Whitebox Studio Theatre as part of Fordham's Playwriting program. Currently, Francesco plays bass and sings for Avenue Eight, a ten piece funk band comprised of college students chiefly from the Philadelphia area, who play everywhere from music festivals to late night basement parties. Upcoming works include an immersive narrative concert experience which will be created in collaboration with both members of Avenue Eight and the Fordham Theatre Company, and will serve as his thesis project next spring.
Yohannah Franco is a Music and American Studies double major and Journalism minor at Fordham University. She has studied classical piano for 14 years, dabbling a bit in composition along the way. She's thrilled to be learning more alongside the Exponential ensemble and debuting an original work this semester! Besides her passion for playing Romantic-period pieces, arranging songs for piano and singing Broadway tunes, Yohannah also loves to write, photography, enjoy all sorts of food and explore NYC!
James Ho was born and raised in Puerto Rico and moved to
Brooklyn at the age of 12. He first began learning piano at 16 and is currently studying the piano under Dr. Nathaniel Sloan, who specializes in Jazz. Some of his interests include chess and
philosophy of existentialism and mostly thinking about how AIs will make us all unemployed. While he listens to classical composers, mostly from the romantic era and the impressionist era, mostly
Frederic Chopin and Maurice Ravel, he also listens to contemporary composers like Yuki Kaijura, Yoko Kanno, and Yiruma. He first began his music minor experience through his Intro to Music History
course. Through the Fordham composition course, James wishes to learn composition for himself and understand how the music of those his listens to and plays influences his composition style and
technique. James will graduate this August double majoring in Economics and Computer Science and minoring Music
where he will go onto to be a masters candidate for Data Analytics.
Gregory P. Hopp is a freshman at Fordham University double-majoring in Middle East Studies and Classical Languages with a minor in Music. He spent his early childhood in Queens, followed by 12 years in State College, PA. Having been raised by a family that is almost constantly dancing, he trained in Irish dance for eight years and competed at the World Championships twice. This love of dancing developed into a love of music, and he has been playing the piano for eleven years and now sings in the Schola Cantorum choir. He is incredibly excited to study composition, and would like to thank Dr. Ott and the Exponential Ensemble for all their help and Mr. Douglas Swaine for the years of piano lessons. He would also like to thank Dr. Sosa for introducing him to the possibility of studying music at the collegiate level.
Julie Patadia is a senior at Fordham University Lincoln Center. She is a psychology major with a music minor. This will be her very first piece of music created and she plans on continuing her education in composition after graduating. She would like to thank Exponential Ensemble for their dedication and guidance through the writing process.
From Franklin Square, New York, Victoria Pitz is a junior in music and english double-major. With skills on clarinet, alto saxophone, guitar, and piano, she has played in the University Orchestra, Gloria Dei Band at the University Church, and University Pep Band. She currently holds a seat in Fordham's Jazz Orchestra at Jazz at Lincoln Center and plays guitar/voice in the Praise and Worship Band at Fordham. With interests in both historical and ethnomusicology, Victoria hopes to purse research in conjunction with Music Therapy. Working for a Santa Fe-based non-profit, Victoria discovered her gift for healing and the bith-place of music therapy as an ancient indigenous practice. She hopes to venerate this exposure to non-Western music and culture in her composition. Victoria has previously arranged jazz charts and looks forward to cultivating a classical piece. She thanks Dr. Ott, the Exponential Ensemble, and the ever-inspiring mentors in Fordham's Music Department for their dedication and investment in her.
Sam Ross was raised in Mineral Springs, North Carolina. He has always held a deep love for music but did not begin to play until teaching himself guitar at 16 years old. After developing a sufficient musical skillset and experimenting with various other instruments, Sam combined his love for music with his passion for the literary arts, writing pop and folk songs and recording them on a digital 4-track recorder. Sam currently is a junior at Fordham University majoring in American Studies with minors in English and Music, and he continues to write poetry and songs whenever time permits.
Lyra Sior is a Music and Psychology double major at Fordham University. She began studying music with childhood piano lessons. For the past 8 years she has played flute, the last 4 of which have been with the University Orchestra. Following a little background in jazz arranging and electronic music production, she is excited to begin her composing career with the help of Dr. Ott and the incredible musicians of the Exponential Ensemble.
Justice! Sommerville-Adair is a freshman at Fordham studying mathematics and music. She participates in the Fordham University Choir, plays piano, and is learning cello and violin. Over the summer she worked as music director for Lights Up Productions' Legally Blonde, Little Shop of Horrors, and Into The Woods. She's very excited and nervous to have the opportunity to compose, and to have the members of the Exponential Ensemble perform her composition.
Born and raised in Norwalk, Connecticut, Jessica Somma is a junior at Fordham double-majoring in History and Music with a minor in Arabic. Jessica is currently involved with the Fordham University Choir, but she comes from a 10+ year career of choral performance, including multiple performances in state and regional festivals. Although she will always be a choir kid, Jessica is now excited to try her hand at instrumental composition. She would like to thank Dr. Ott and the Exponential Ensemble for guiding her through the process and is excited for her world premiere as a composer!
Merissa Wright is a senior with an individualized major in Music Therapy at Fordham University. From Ocean Bluff, Massachusetts, she has been singing and composing music for guitar and voice for 11 years. Merissa loves the universality of music and its ability to reach a person on a psychological, spiritual, and physical level. Alongside being Captain of the Women's Track and Field Team, Merissa is conducting an Undergraduate Research Project on the BPM of music and its correlation to stride and lower-leg injury patterns in runners. Merissa works as a Music Therapy leader for children and adults with disabilities, and is excited to expand her composition skills to instruments other than the guitar. This will be her first time writing for Traditional instruments and hopes to bring her unique tastes to the world of music which was at once unknown to her. She thanks Dr. Ott and the Exponential Ensemble for their talents and guidance.
2016 Fordham Composers Program
The 2016 Fordham Composers Program was a composition class offered by Fordham University. Each of the 13 students enrolled composed a short piece for 2 to 4 instruments among this instrumentation: Violin, Viola, Cello, Clarinet, Horn and Piano.
The class was given on a weekly basis by Dr. Daniel Ott at Fordham University (Lincoln Center) starting in January 2016 and culminating with a performance of all compositions at the Dimenna Center on Monday, May 2, 2016 at 7:30pm.
Many thanks for Mr. James Dineen for sponsoring this program.
This was my favorite class this semester and possibly even my favorite of all time. I'm amazed at what we all created and grew over the course of several months. It was not only extremely educational, but also very fulfilling.
Linnea Willey, 2016 Fordham Composer
Listen to "Holly" by Holly Wang
Meet the 2016 Fordham Composers
Born and raised in Manhattan’s Upper West Side with an eclectic upbringing of Hip Hop, R&B, and Jazz, music is important to Andrew Abbensett. He even goes as far as saying that music saved his life on multiple occasions. He accredits this to broadening his musical tastes, joining choir, tackling musical theater, delving into jazz ensemble, experimenting with music production, and finally taking the Music Composition class. As he is about to graduate Fordham University with a B.A. in Music and a minor in English, he is grateful for all of the opportunities to expand his musical knowledge and appreciation, along with his overall growth as a musician. He hopes that the Young Composers Program will be the beginning of a long legacy filled with creating music for all to enjoy.
I really liked that this class was all about what the composer wanted it to be. It was very much an independently-driven project in terms of vision and creativity, and this was both daunting and liberating compared to my previous harmony classes. I loved that the short exercises let us play and experiment with what the instruments could do; this was absolutely crucial to my creative process since I am hardly an instrumentalist and had very little experience in the nuances of each instrument available to us.
Shannon Rockett, Fordham Composer
Acquisition by Ross Lampert
Benjamin Carbone is a 21 year-old composer, guitarist, songwriter, and audio engineer from Syracuse, New York. He is currently finishing his last semester as a student of music at Fordham University where he focuses in Jazz Performance. Benjamin's main artistic inspirations are the extraordinary events hidden just a quarter inch beneath the thin layer of the mundane that covers our quotidian lives. These events often take place in elevators, dive bars and coffee shop lines. This is his first full venture into the world of composition. He hopes that you all enjoy it.
Piano Quartet "The Living Room" by
Joanna Connolly hails from Queens, NY, the fourth of six children in a chaotic and musical family. She grew up singing showtunes with her two sisters, and this experience began her love of song and story. In the summer of 2014, Joanna had the unique opportunity to participate in the Manhattan School of Music Summer Voice Festival, and she continues to study voice under the tutelage of Tessa Lang. Last year, Joanna also had the privilege to study English and Music at the University of Oxford, where she performed in a number of musicals produced by the University. She graduates from Fordham this May with a degree in English and Music.
Tinderella by Rebecca Su
Rosemary Derocher grew up in New York, Illinois, and Virginia, spending the most time just outside of Albany, NY. She has been playing piano since age six and saxophone since age 12, in addition to being self-taught on guitar, banjo, ukulele, and whatever other instruments she can find (this includes the concertina). She is grateful for all of the playing opportunities afforded to her in high school in jazz bands, wind ensembles, rock bands, and pit orchestras. Rosemary is now a senior majoring in English and minoring in Music at Fordham College Rose Hill. In December 2015, the Fordham Jazz Orchestra in cooperation with Jazz at Lincoln Center played her first large scale composition and arrangement, "Tumble Dry Low." She loves the look on someone's face when they know they've just heard or played something that sounded really good.
Towers by Rosemary Derocher
Sarah Homer was born and raised on Long Island but considers the Bronx her second home after three and a half incredible years at Fordham University's Rose Hill campus, where she majors in English and minors in music. She began studying the piano at age seven and the clarinet at age nine, and spent middle and high school working her way through all six levels of NYSSMA on piano, clarinet, and vocals, as well as performing in various school and extracurricular bands and choruses. These days, she primarily plays the clarinet in pit bands, a passion she discovered during high school thanks to the guidance of some of the best music teachers on the planet. Sarah is very much looking forward to working with the incredibly talented members of the Exponential Ensemble to try her hand at composing!
Jessica Jones is a junior at Fordham, studying psychology and music, and hails from a small town in the Lower Hudson Valley. Showing interest in music at an early age, she was heavily involved in various music ensembles and drama productions, participating in her high school’s choir, band, and jazz band, and Fordham College Lincoln Center’s chamber orchestra. She plays the clarinet, bass clarinet, and piano, and has won several awards at New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA). She finds it ironic that she once told her band director in high school that she would never take a music composition class.
Born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Ross Lampert always brings a love for music with him wherever he goes. Starting with piano lessons at the age of five before switching to saxophone through middle and high school, Ross has always experimented with songwriting and composition, a process that only grew as he joined various garage bands outside of school. Encouraged to learn other instruments and contribute his own songs, Ross picked up electric bass, drums, and eventually guitar, which has acted as his primary instrument and tool of composition for the past six years, writing instrumentals and lyrical songs in his spare time. Though he has little experience writing from a traditional composer's standpoint, Ross hopes to bring his unique experiences with the music world out of his comfort zone and into the 2016 Young Composers Program.
Brian Reynolds is a junior music and economics double major from East Northport, New York. He has been studying percussion since the age of 10, playing in bands and orchestras all throughout middle and high school. Currently, he serves as president of the Fordham University band and orchestra, student conductor of the pep band and drummer for the Fordham Jazz Collective. He has also undertaken independent study to compose original pieces while at Fordham, working with Dr. DeCusatis over the past two semesters. In his spare time, Brian enjoys exploring the city and attending live concerts.
Shannon Rockett is a senior Music major studying classical vocal performance at the Rose Hill campus of Fordham University. Born and raised in northern Virginia, she has been singing chorally for 11 years, and began individual study as a dramatic soprano in college with Elaine Lachica. Her previous performance engagements include Apotheosis Opera's summer production of Wagner's Tannhäuser and Fordham University's Schola Cantorum and University Choir. Currently, Shannon is preparing to give her Senior Vocal Recital at the end of April this year. She thanks Dr. Ott and Exponential Ensemble for their guidance and patience through what is easily her most challenging musical endeavor to date.
Rebecca Su is a senior music major from Taipei, Taiwan. She moved to Shanghai, China at the age of 8 and started playing the violin at the age of 10 and singing at 16. In 2012, Rebecca left Taiwan and moved to New York to study music at Fordham University at the Lincoln Center. She is currently an alto in the women's choir. This is her first time composing under the guidance of Dr.Ott. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys exploring the city.
Holly Wang (also known as Yiping Wang) was born in Zhuhai, China, and came to New York for college in 2015. She currently majors in communication, possibly minor in politics and psychology at Fordham University Lincoln Center. Started to play piano since 3, she began to write songs (mostly pop, blues, EDM and country) at 13. She can play 7 instruments: piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drum, bass, pipa (a Chinese instrument) and banjo, and she plans to learn cello, violin, ukulele and saxophone in the future. She has also produced her music for years. She is good at and fond of improvisation on piano, guitar and drum. This is her first time trying writing classical music, even though she has improvised such music on the piano for at least 2 years. Her goal in music is to cure people. She has helped others by writing music for and about them.
Born and raised in Vermont, Linnea Willey is grateful to be on her third year of university in New York City, majoring in Music and minoring in Philosophy. Music, for her, is a form of both magic and medicine. She loves to sing, rap, drum, and dabble on the piano, guitar, clarinet, and sax. She is humbled that her composition is being played by such talented artists and heard by such beautiful people.
Daniel Wilson, hails from the suburbs of Philadelphia, but currently resides in New York City, where he studies philosophy at Fordham University and piano performance at Juilliard. He has worked most prominently with Adelaide Roberts at Juilliard and Dr. Carl Cranmer at West Chester University. Over the past few years, he has participated in the Philadelphia International Music Festival, performed with the Immaculata Symphony Orchestra, and appeared at venues such as the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. He most recently worked as the music director for Fordham University’s production of A Chorus Line and possesses particular interest in the repertoire of French composers.
2014 Fordham Composers Program
The 2014 Fordham Composers Program was an official composition class offered by Fordham University. Each of the 16 students enrolled this semester were asked to compose a 3 to 5 minutes long piece using any combination of these instruments: clarinet, violin, viola and cello. The class is given on a weekly basis by Dr. Daniel Ott (right) at Fordham University.
Exponential Ensemble visited Dr. Daniel Ott's class five times to read drafts and guide the students in their compositional process. The program culminated with a performance of all the works in front of students, teachers and a special jury on April 10, 2014 at Fordham University. This year the jury selected two pieces to be performed on May 12, 2014 during Exponential Ensemble's Season 3 Finale at the National Opera Center.
Nora Linde and Danielle Mendez were the 2014 Fordham Composers Program Winners.
Meet the 2014 Fordham Composers
Nicholas Cheung, 22
Born and raised in Queens, NY, Nicholas Cheung started piano lessons when he was eight. He is classically trained in piano and participated in and won many competitions. In addition to his major in Business Administration, he has a minor in music to compliment his musical upbringing. He transferred to Fordham University from Clark University in 2011, the beginning of his sophomore year. Nicholas is currently in his final semester of Fordham University. For more information or to check out his music, please go to http://nickpiano.com/
For our first visit we answered questions the students had about the instruments...
Dan Gibney, 22
Born and raised in and around the Bronx, Dan will be graduating from Fordham this May with a degree in Music and American Studies. He grew up playing Irish music on the piano and the accordion and frequently performs at Irish cultural festivals throughout the U.S. and occasionally abroad. Unless something goes horribly awry, he will be attending a graduate program in musicology in NYC next fall. This is Dan's first attempt at composing, and he's so grateful to all of the members of the Exponential Ensemble for their advice!
We also talked about the importance of choosing key signatures and how it affects the character of a piece.
Hyocheong Hong, 21
Hyocheong Hong came to America in 2002 and was raised in New Jersey. Early on, she learned to play the piano but did not gain interest in music until she joined her school chorus during elementary school. Since music did not play an big part in her family, she was only able to interact with music through school. In 2006, she began to learn the cello and joined her church orchestra. Until high school, Hyocheong has been singing in the choir and has recently joined the University choir as well. Although she never imagined herself to be a composer, she looks forward to what she will learn through this workshop. Hyocheong is a music major in Fordham College at Lincoln Center.
For our second visit, the students presented us with preliminary drafts.
Troy Krusz, 20
Troy Krusz is a guitarist and vocalist from Mt. Vernon, New York. He began violin and piano lessons in grade school and started teaching himself to play the guitar at age 12. In middle school and high school Troy played with his school band, various rock bands and as a solo act throughout Westchester, the Bronx and Manhattan. He currently is studying at Fordham College at Lincoln Center and will graduate in 2015 with a double major in Music and Classical Languages. Troy has a passion for studying and playing early Blues, Folk and Traditional music, as well as Jazz, Rock and more. He enjoys spending his time reading, writing poetry, and watching live music.
This first reading enabled the students to combine different ideas together in some sort of "musical patch work". This exercise is very important in a composer's creative process.
Vianka Lemus, 23
Vianka Lemus was born in San Diego, California and began piano lessons when she was four. As a child she performed in a yearly recital under her teacher at the time, Inessa Novikova. The recitals were held in Tijuana, B.C., Mexico at the cultural center, and as many as 500 people attended. Now a classically trained pianist, she is recieving further guidance under Irina Rees thanks to Fordham's Boyce Music Scholarship. Vianka will be graduating this May with a Bachelors in Music, and plans (for now) to take her studies back to the west coast in 2015.
6/8 and 3/4 time signatures are mathematically the same but don't necessarily feel the same!
Nora Linde, 23
Nora Linde was born and raised in New York City. Music has been a big part of her life since elementary school when she started studying piano, joined church choir, and began studying harp with Mariko Anraku, Associate Principal Harpist of the Met Opera. Nora has played harp in church settings and at parties. She also sings in the choir at Fordham University where she is a junior music major with political science and French minors. Nora composed her first piece at age six. The follow-up to "Catwalk" has been a long time coming, but she hopes it will be worth the wait.
For the 3rd and 4th visits we went deeper into the compositional process, talking about harmony and voice leading.
Joey LoVoi, 21
Joey was born in Washington, D.C. but did not begin studying music until after he and his family had moved to Brussels, Belgium in 2004. He started out as a trumpet player in his middle school band and piano lessons shortly followed. Four years later he moved back to the US to the hometown of both his parents Tulsa, Oklahoma. At the start of high school Joey joined his school choir and also began to learn how to play the guitar and the electric bass. During this time he played guitar, piano, and occasionally bass in a number of different bands around Tulsa, one of which participated in the city's battle of the bands. Joey is a music major currently in his fourth year at Fordham College at Lincoln Center.
String bowings and articulation...
Charlie Martin, 22
Born and raised outside of Atlanta, Charlie Martin is a National Hispanic Merit Scholar and young composer working in New York's flourishing new music scene. In addition to Philosophy and Music majors in the Honors College, Charlie has also pursued four years of rigorous musical studies at The Juilliard School's Evening Division, as well as working as Creative Outreach Director for Silicon Alley social media start-up, ShowAmerica. Charlie has composed and arranged pieces for orchestral, choral, chamber, liturgical, and other settings. He has collaborated with Corona Youth Music Project, a Queens-based branch of the globalEl Sistemamovement, and was the first Fordham student to combine music with the service-learning credit offered by theDorothy Day Center for Service and Justice. He is humbled to have been recipient of Fordham's Departmental Piano Scholarship, the 2013 Exponential Ensemble Young Composer premiere, and the 2014 Conductor's Apprenticeship with the New York Youth Symphony. Charlie is passionate about social justice, music, and making things for people he loves. For more info about Charlie, visit www.charliemartinmusic.com
For the final reading all students followed along with a projected score.
Danielle Mendez, 21
Danielle Mendez is a songwriter and pianist from Atlantic City, New Jersey. After realizing her ability to play by ear at age eight, piano lessons shortly followed. Throughout high school Danielle played with local orchestras, pit bands, and jazz groups. She developed her passion for songwriting at age thirteen and had some of her jazz compositions performed within the Atlantic City Casinos. During her college career at Fordham University, she continues to play within the tri-state area and was featured within issues of The New York City Jazz Record and Hot House. Most recently, Danielle is working at Warner Music Group while also working on various writing and production projects. She will be graduating in 2014 with a Bachelors in economics and music minor.
The final reading allowed the composers to adjust dynamic levels between the different voices.
Nathan Miranda, 19
Nathan Miranda, born and raised in Cary, NC, started piano lessons at the age of four. He showed a passion for jazz early on, picking up the alto saxophone in his first year of middle school and playing in various big bands and combos through high school. At the age of sixteen, he joined Duke University's Jazzforce as an alto player, headed by renowned bassist John Brown and composed of the most talented high school students in NC's Triangle region. At seventeen, Nathan joined UNC-G's Miles Davis Jazz Studies high school jazz program and UNC's Essentially Ellington high school jazz festival. Upon arriving at Fordham University, he joined the Fordham-based band Cableknit in his freshman year, which culminated in the release of Cableknit's first EP in May 2013. In January 2013, Nathan joined Jazz at Lincoln Center's small group sessions, under the instruction of guitarist Matt Buttermann and singer Michael Mwenso. Through this partnership with JALC. In January 2014, Nathan joined Rose Hill's BJC Jazz Quartet headed by Brenda Earle Stokes and has played shows around the city with the group.
Compositions by Danielle Mendez and Nora Linde
were chosen to be performing during Exponential
Ensemble's Season 3 Finale.
(From left to right)
Professor Daniel Ott, Danielle Mendez, Nora Linde and Pascal Archer.
Malcolm Morano, 20
Malcolm Morano is thrilled to be a part of Exponential Ensemble’s Young Composer’s Program for the second time! Born and raised in Tenafly, NJ, Malcolm is a senior at Fordham University, double-majoring in Music and Philosophy. From the ages of 10 to 17, he was a professional stage actor. He played and composed progressive rock music for the electric guitar throughout high school. Since college, he has been studying classical piano, which earned him a Fordham Music Lessons Scholarship last year. He has also been the musical director of Fordham’s a cappella group, the F-Sharps. In addition to composing, Malcolm also writes poetry, philosophy, political commentary, and art criticism.
Check out Malcolm's writing at
...and listen to the piece he composed for last year’s program.
Harrison Nida, 22
Harrison Nida was classically trained in voice while singing for ten years with the Ragazzi Boys Choir, going on three domestic and two international tours. He also completed collegiate level theory. Harrison is now is a singer/songwriter, and has been working with Lynn Verlayne Studios on his debut EP to be released this March. For a more complete bio or to check out his music, visit www.harrisonnida.com
Elliott Sawicki, 21
Elliott Sawicki was born and raised in Buffalo, NY, where he expressed interest in music at an early age. Elliott began by taking violin, trumpet, and piano lessons, however it wasn’t until picking up a guitar at the age of 12 that he discovered his true passion for music. From that point on, he took lessons in guitar and piano, focusing on jazz, blues, folk and rock and roll. Elliott is now in his third year at Fordham College at Lincoln Center where he is continuing his studies in music. He participates in Fordham’s small jazz ensembles in partnership with Jazz at Lincoln Center, as well as the guitar ensemble under the instruction of guitarist Matthew Butterman.
Charlie Situ, 22
Charlie is a classically trained pianist from San Francisco California. He spent most of his childhood improving on his piano technique on his own until he entered high school, where he expanded his musical knowledge by playing in ensembles in church and orchestra. He found joy in sharing and performing music with others. Now in college, he hopes to even strengthen his love for music by learning how to express himself more creatively through personal compositional work.
Christina Vilar, 18
Born in Valhalla, New York and graduate of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Christina is a Music major in her freshman year at Fordham University. She began playing the piano at the age of six, and then began playing the clarinet in 2005 when she joined her middle school band. Christina is a four year member of the Mississippi All-State Lions Band where she has marched in international Lions Clubs parades in Sydney, Australia, Seattle, WA, and Hamburg, Germany, taking home international championship titles in all three parades. She also had the pleasure of playing in the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra for two seasons alongside her teacher, Wilbur Moreland. Christina enjoys writing lyrics, creating remixes by combining classical and pop music, and attending a variety of concerts.
2013 Fordham Composers Program
The Exponential Ensemble Fordham Composers Program is a brand new initiative between Fordham University and Exponential Ensemble.
Five students were involved in our 2013 pilot program: Charles Martin, Malcolm Morano, Hyun-Jin Jenny Park, Terence Petersen and John Venditti. They had to write a trio for Clarinet, Violin and Contrabass. Throughout the academic year, the students were supervised on a weekly basis by Dr. Daniel Ott (left) and periodically met musicians from Exponential Ensemble in order to hear their drafts, ask questions about the instruments and make appropriate modifications to their scores.
On April 17, 2013, Exponential Ensemble performed all the student's works at Fordham University in front of a jury. The Height of Spring by Charlie Martin was chosen to be performed during Exponential Ensemble's concert on April 18, 2013, at Benzaquen Hall (Dimenna Center).
Meet the 2013 Fordham Composers
Born and raised outside of Atlanta, Georgia, Charlie Martin is pursuing Music and Philosophy majors at Fordham University, as well as additional studies through The Juilliard School's Evening Division. Charlie has composed and arranged pieces for classroom and liturgical settings, in addition to vocal performance experiences with both the Fordham University Choir, the Young New Yorkers' Chorus, and a brief internship with the Corona Youth Music Project. He is currently studying piano with Ms. Adelaide Roberts. In addition to writing and performing music, Charlie is also active as a young philosopher, student leader, and social activist. His work has been featured in the Fordham Philosophy newsletter and The Fordham Observer, as well as other publications on campus.
Malcolm Morano is a Junior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, double majoring in Philosophy and Music. As a teenager, he was a professional actor in both plays and musical theater. Since the age of 12, he has played electric guitar, and was the member of multiple rock bands in high school for which he wrote a great deal of music for electric guitar. In college, he began studying classical piano, music theory and became more interested in the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, and Bartok. After years of hiatus, the Exponential Ensemble Young Composers Program is his first attempt at composing classical music.
Hyun-Jin Jenny Park was born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Portland, Oregon. She started piano lessons at the age of five and, in 2010, she performed pieces by Beethoven, Bach, and Villa-Lobos at the Old Church in Portland, with her instructor Craig Jones. She has also dabbled in instruments like the violin, viola, guitar, jang-gu, and pipe organ. Jenny is currently working towards her double degree of Psychology and Music at Fordham University. Swan is her first composition.
Terence Petersen is a music major in his senior year at Fordham University. He divides his time between the University Choir, the Fordham Experimental Theatre group, and various independent student film and music projects. He has been composing now for a year, and plans to continue as far into the future as the practice carries him.
Electric guitarist John Venditti is a graduating senior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center. Writing and composing for electric guitar has always been one of his passions and upon graduation he will stive to continue learning to compose for orchestral instruments as well. Through his composing he enjoys using the instruments to tell a story or express emotion, and perfecting using music as a form of communication.
Season 1 Finale
On June 12, 2012, we premiered "Working Together", a piece by young american composer Kimberly Osberg.
Kimberly had initially contacted us to propose writing a piece for the Exponential Ensemble. We gladly commisioned her to write a piece for piano, clarinet and percussion for our Season ONE finale.
Working with Kimberly inspired us to create the Fordham Composers Program.